Critical thinking about current events

In the last few years, I have seen a concerning trend among my peers and adults alike to react before educating themselves about a topic, particularly when it pertains to race relations, LGBTQ rights, women’s struggles, or police brutality.

I regularly see my schoolmates in the center of protests and demonstrations, often reposting political messages via their social media, and creating rallying cries around incidents of controversy. In no way do I discourage this, rather, I believe it’s imperative that youth fight for what they believe in, but a disturbing number of these advocates lack basic knowledge of the very incidents and positions they fight for, taking to the streets because they feel outraged after reading a biased headline instead of a well-rounded report.

This trend is seen on both sides of the political aisle, with Trump supporters regularly reposting infographics with questionable legitimacy as leftists rail against the “clear racism” shown in the more nuanced death of Walter Wallace Jr. My frustration lies with how the majority of my peers (and adults) seem unwilling to consider a different point of view and instead villify the “other.”

I firmly believe that only by actively seeking out genuinely unbiased news outlets, such as AP and Reuters, to gain an accurate understanding of an issue before taking action will people represent their beliefs better and communicate with those they may disagree with. I hope that my peers and adults of the South Bay will think critically before reacting emotionally.

—Caleb Wallis, Hermosa Beach

Civic engagement after the election

Voting in the local and national election is over. It’s now time to put politics aside and come together as a community and as a nation. It’s also time for all candidates and their supporters to remove and recycle/repurpose their campaign signs.

Most importantly, it’s time for everyone to volunteer in our community, help our older adult neighbors and those in need, show all residents compassion, be respectful on social media, become a mentor/tutor, attend civic community meetings (via Zoom, for now), do random good deeds, drive with caution/politeness, personally thank our outstanding police officers and firefighters that you encounter, and support our local businesses. Let’s all work together to make our wonderful community we all love even better.

—Wayne Powell, Manhattan Beach

Skateparks in Redondo Beach

In response to the recent article about the Redondo City Council moving ahead on the two skateparks, ("Council moves ahead with 2 skate parks, one at the pier," The Beach Reporter, 10/29/20); I hope they make a good skatepark this time. 

I’m 55 and have been skateboarding since 1974. I grew up skating around Santa Monica and the Palisades and Brentwood; I skated with the first people to skate on vertical in pools and so forth. I love it and still do it. For the past few years I’ve had to drive to Huntington Beach to skate a good park.

It’s been so disappointing to see the skateparks in this area without any bowls. The Manhattan beach skatepark is small and trafficky. The Hermosa skatepark is just a back and forth were you have to push with your feet to get anywhere. These are basically street courses.

Now I hear about two possible skateparks coming to Redondo that might just have a couple quarter pipes, rails, ledges, and basically street course type stuff. I very much hope they move forward with the more substantial park idea ($750,000) described with the pools and bowls and transition. Kids of all ages will love the variety. This is an affluent community; spend some money and you’ll have something good for people to use for generations.

—Michael Pearson, Redondo Beach

Appreciation for 2020 election process

To all the poll workers and volunteers, California election officials, and city planners. Thank you for making the 2020 election process so much easier than ever before. With over 700 polling locations in Los Angeles County along with the mail-in option, we are so fortunate to have it so easy. In addition, we also had the option of some iconic L.A. locations to choose from. I am hopeful that this access to voting will continue in future elections.

—Irene Fujioka, El Segundo

Ideas about Bruces's Beach

What is meant by “reparations?“ It's unclear, as it has become a politically charged phrase. But one form of reparations is vehemently opposed by some folks: new taxes to address discrimination that happened generations ago, not perpetrated by current taxpayers. It is fortunate that we may correct the injustice of Bruce’s Beach without new taxes.

The crime of Bruce's Beach is defined, the perpetrators are known, the victims’ families are identified. And the means of righting the wrong is under our feet: the land. We don’t need taxes. I have proposed two solutions that would actually generate funds for the city. One, to build the Bruce’s Beach Hotel and Conference Center. This would be a shining example to the country, a physical location in which to have difficult but necessary conversations about racial reconciliation. And it would pay a royalty to the Bruce family for the something they indisputably own: their name. Such a property would generate millions of dollars of revenue to the city in perpetuity.

Hotel too intrusive for you? Then sell the land to a developer to create homes, like everywhere else in town. Even just the middle third, which would have no impact on views and still allow for a park, would generate tens of millions of dollars that could be used for educational programs and a royalty to the Bruce family.

These solutions require no new taxes. These are not controversial "reparations," but simply making right a wrong done in the name of our city.

—Christopher O'Brien, Manhattan Beach

Candidate Boxer shares hopes

As I write this letter, the results of our elections are still 24 hours away, if not more. Up and down the ballot, we have used our collective voice to shape this democracy. I congratulate my fellow candidates for the admirable campaigns they ran.

If we learn anything from my candidacy [for MBUSD board seat], victorious or not, I hope it is that electoral politics ought to be for everyone. City council candidates Phoebe Lyons and Chaz Flemmings presented bold visions for our city during this election cycle, and I’m proud to have had my name mentioned among theirs throughout the campaign. I’m proud that more people than ever are getting involved in shaping our city, regardless of how old they are, the color of their skin, or the gender pronouns they use.

This increased participation is something we must seek to preserve indefinitely, as our community will not emerge from its current crises without us. If you’re reading my words right now, allow me to ask: why not you? You can pitch in at a local food bank and save lives. You can let Assemblymember Muratsuchi know when you have thoughts about his voting record, positive or negative. You can organize a team, order some yard signs, and show our community that you deserve to lead.

Because the fact of the matter is that Manhattan Beach can be whatever we want it to be. We just need people like you to stand up and organize for it. If I can do it, so can you.

—Jason Boxer, Manhattan Beach

Thanks from candidates Komatinsky and Koo

We want to thank the Beach Cities residents for being so supportive of both of our individual campaigns [for Beach Cities Health District board positions]. Over the last few weeks, we have met with so many amazing, willing and engaged community members and we have thoroughly enjoyed talking with each one of you. Thank you for sharing your ideas, feedback and time.

With results unknown at the time of writing this letter, we can only hope that we have the opportunity to serve the South Bay community.

As long time residents, we have both been invested in our community, albeit coming from different perspectives but highly invested nonetheless. If honored to serve, we will bring new ideas and energy to Beach Cities Health District because of our professional backgrounds in business and healthcare. We will listen. We will work to improve communication and transparency. We will collaborate. We will work to increase community engagement and partnership. We hope to serve.

Thank you all for your support of our candidacy and campaigns during this ‘season.'

—Karen Komatinsky and Martha Koo, Manhattan Beach

Gratitude from candidate Fournell

I am writing this the day before the election. Just like the rest of 2020, nothing about this campaign was normal. Zoom forums and social media replaced gatherings and events. Obviously, I would have preferred meeting people in person to get to know them and their concerns and to let them get to know me on a personal level. I did my best to safely let the voters see just who I am and what I bring to [Manhattan Beach] city council.

For this first-time candidate, it was an eye-opener and I embraced it all.

I’m grateful to those residents who took the time to listen to me and all of the candidates. To all of the other candidates, I want to thank you for participating in the democratic process and wish you all the best. I think the discussions and few disagreements we did have will ultimately benefit the community.

My campaign wouldn’t have been possible without the total support of my family, my friends and my neighbors. Thank you to all of my supporters; those who have known me forever and those I just met. And, I have to thank my amazing volunteer campaign team who put in hundreds of hours and made it fun.

I know this pandemic has been crushing to many of us, but we will get through it together. Let’s help our city, be kind to your neighbors and do the most good for others that we can.

—Grettel Fournell, Manhattan Beach

Boarded-up bank building

So I am driving along Sepulveda next to the mall and I see the Wells Fargo Bank branch all boarded up like a hurricane is coming. Meanwhile, Chase, Bank of America and the other banks are open without plywood fortification. Noticed the same thing at the the other Wells location on Manhattan Beach Boulevard.

Once again it looks like Wells fumbles the ball. Rather than sending a positive message of openness and hope over the election, they choose to hunker down like Scrooge McDuck to protect their branch.

—Matt Wilson, Manhattan Beach

Contact Lisa Jacobs lisa.jacobs@TBRnews.com or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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